CLEVELAND, Ohio – For the first time since 2013 the Cleveland State men's tennis team will make an appearance in the NCAA tournament, traveling to No. 15 Michigan for a First Round contest on Saturday, May 12. Last month, the Vikings earned the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the 2018 #HLMTEN Tournament Title.
Joining the Vikings in the Michigan bracket will be Notre Dame and Western Michigan, with the winners of both First Round matches meeting on Sunday, May 13 in a Second Round contest. All matches this weekend are scheduled to be played at the Varsity Tennis Center on the University of Michigan campus (2250 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104).
Saturday, May 12
10:00 a.m. | Notre Dame vs. Western Michigan
1:00 p.m. | Michigan vs. Cleveland State
Sunday, May 13
TBA | Second Round Match
Follow The Vikings Live!
Viking fans that are unable to attend the First and Second Round matches will still be able to follow the action live, as Live Scoring will be available on the men's tennis schedule page on CSUVikings.com. If matches are played indoors, there will also be Live Video available.
The Michigan Bracket
No. 15 Michigan | The Wolverines will be making their third straight NCAA appearance after earning an at-large bid following a 20-5 campaign. Michigan placed third in the Big Ten Conference standings following an 8-2 regular season mark, and advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament last time out.
No. 25 Notre Dame | The Fighting Irish will be making their 26th NCAA appearance over the last 28 seasons following an 18-13 campaign that earned them an at-large bid. During the regular season, Notre Dame finished tied for fourth in the ACC, while the Fighting Irish reached the semifinals of the ACC Tournament last month.
Western Michigan | The Broncos enter NCAA Tournament play with a 22-4 overall record, and captured their 12th MAC Tournament title last time out to earn the Mid American Conference automatic bid. Western Michigan is currently on an 11-match winstreak, which is tied for the third longest active winstreak in the country, and posted a perfect 7-0 record in regular season MAC play.
Cleveland State In The NCAA Tournament
This will be the sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Vikings, with all six appearances coming under head coach Brian Etzkin. The Vikings will be trying for their first win in NCAA Tournament play, as they currently stand at 0-5 in NCAA Tournament matches.
Entering The Tournament…
The Vikings own a 17-10 overall record and have won six straight matches – one of 17 teams to enter NCAA Tournament play with a 6+ match winstreak. Individually, four of Cleveland State's six singles players enter the weekend with winstreaks, as Benjamin Slade and Nico Mostardi have won six straight, while Matthew Terry has won five straight and Gabriel Evtimov has won four straight matches.
Horizon League Tournament Champions
For the sixth time in program history – and the first time since 2013 – the Vikings captured the 2018 Horizon League Tournament title last month. Cleveland State entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed after clinching a share of the Horizon League Regular Season title, and picked up wins over No. 3 Youngstown State (4-0) and top-seeded Detroit Mercy (4-2) en route to the #HLMTEN crown.
17 Wins & Counting
Entering NCAA Tournament play Cleveland State owns 17 wins on the year – the sixth highest single-season win total in program history. The Vikings have now reached the 17-win plateau six times under head coach Brian Etzkin, and have notched a winning season in 13 of Etzkin's 16 seasons at the helm of the program.
Slade Cracks Top-10 On CSU Singles Wins List
After owning a team-best 18-6 singles record this spring, junior Benjamin Slade enters NCAA Tournament play tied for ninth on the CSU Singles Wins List with 60 career victories. Last time out, Slade picked up a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory at No. 4 singles against Detroit Mercy in the Horizon League Championship match, becoming just the 10th Viking all-time with 60 career singles wins. Slade is the first Viking to crack the top-10 since the 2014-15 season.
For the third time under head coach Brian Etzkin four Vikings have eclipsed the 20-win mark for the season, as Nico Mostardi (28 wins), Matthew Terry (28), Luke Phillips (27), and Benjamin Slade (24) have all eclipsed the mark this year. Overall, 14 Vikings have now recorded a 20-win season in program history, while Slade is the eighth Viking to have multiple 20-win campaigns to his name (21 wins as a freshman).
…CSU Single-Season Wins List
Heading into NCAA Tournament play, three Vikings are ranked on the CSU Single-Season Wins List, as Nico Mostardi and Matthew Terry are tied for second with 28 wins, and Luke Phillips ranks sixth with 27 victories. This marks the first time since the 2013-14 season that a Viking has eclipsed 26 wins in a single-season, while Mostardi and Terry are just one win shy of tying the program record for most wins in a single-season (29).
Three Vikings Earn All-League Honors
The Vikings were well represented on this year's postseason honors from the Horizon League, as Nico Mostardi was named the Player of the Year, Matthew Terry was tabbed Freshman of the Year and Luke Phillips earned a spot on the All-League Second Team. This marked the seventh time in program history that three Vikings have earned postseason honors in the same season, while it was the first time that Cleveland State picked up Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year accolades during the same campaign.
…Nico Mostardi | Sophomore | Player of the Year
Mostardi picked up Player of the Year honors after posting a league-best 6-1 record at No. 1 singles during Horizon League regular season play, and currently owns a team-best 28-7 overall singles record on the year. Mostardi became the fastest Viking to reach 20 wins in a single-season earlier this year, while he also posted a team-best 12-match winstreak from November 3, 2017 through February 10, 2018.
…Matthew Terry | Freshman | Freshman of the Year
Terry was named the Freshman of the Year after notching a 6-1 record against league opponents at No. 2 singles – the only rookie to play in the top-two spots throughout the entire league slate. Earlier this season, Terry became the second fastest Viking to record 20 wins in a single-season – and the fastest freshman to achieve the feat – and currently owns a 28-11 record on the year.
…Luke Phillips | Freshman | All-League Second Team
Phillips was named to the All-Horizon League Second Team after playing the entire spring season in the top half of the singles lineup, including a perfect 7-0 mark against league opponents at No. 3 singles. Entering NCAA Tournament play, Phillips stands at 27-12 on the season.
Head Coach Brian Etzkin
Brian Etzkin is in his 16th year at the helm of the Vikings, owning a 234-169 dual match record. Etzkin has guided the Vikings to six Horizon League Tournament titles and six trips to the NCAA Tournament during his tenure. As the all-time winningest coach in program history, Etzkin is one of the longest tenured coaches in the Horizon League, and is the only #HLMTEN coach to record 200+ wins at their current school.